One of the highlights of De Aar Solar Power’s Socio Economic Development initiatives is a Reading Programme that has been implemented across fourteen schools, in conjunction with the Department of Education. This Reading Coach Programme has already been implemented in all the primary schools in De Aar, Hanover and Britstown. Training of the Reading Coaches commenced earlier this year and teachers have been allocated the Reading Coach resources. The focus is to improve literacy and numeracy levels of grade 1 to 3 learners by providing scheduled reading sessions in vernacular (isiXhosa and Afrikaans). The Programme incorporates a number of elements, namely employment opportunities, training and resources. In addition to this, schools will receive a donation of books.
“Considering that the biggest challenge to education outcomes is the lack of literacy and numeracy skills, at the Early Childhood Development stage, as it limits learners potential as they progress higher up the education chain. This needs to be addressed so that children have the right skills to take mathematics and science through to Grade 12. For this reason De Aar Solar Power has signed a 3 year agreement with the Department of Education to support this programme, to the value of R421 846.32,” explained Marion Green-Thompson, Economic Development Manager for De Aar Solar Power.
The programme aims to improve the literacy and numeracy skills of primary school learners, through the introduction of 14 Reading Coaches, into the beneficiary schools. This in turn has provided jobs for 14 unemployed matriculants from the area who now receive a stipend each month and are being provided with work experience which should hopefully improve their opportunities to get jobs in the future or go to University to study towards an education diploma. These Coaches will run reading sessions with groups of up to 15 children at a time, although most of these groups are smaller so that each child gets individual attention.
The project is funded over a three year period and performance will be measured by the improvement of the Annual National Tests (ANA) written by the learners annually. Each participating school will get book grants over the three year period.
Participating schools in the vicinity of De Aar Solar Power include: Emthanjeni Primary School, Alpha Primary School, Willie Theron Primary School, Zingisani Primary School, Kareeville Primary School, Hanover Primary School, St. Johns Primary School, Hayes PS, Van Rensburg Primary School, Luvuyo Primary School.
Droogfontein Solar Power is likewise funding the Reading Programme in the Riverton, Ritchie and Barkley West areas. The programme has already been implemented across ten schools, in conjunction with the Department of Education.
Both De Aar Solar Power and Droogfontein Solar Power are committed to helping communities through the implementation of education and health programmes with a focus on early childhood development, as part of a crèche support programme; numeracy and literacy interventions at primary school level; support for mathematics and science programmes at secondary school level; and scholarships for engineering-related studies at tertiary level.